Kitchen Therapy


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Fudgy Mocha Bars

I am not a chocolate fan.
I made these because I miss baking with the Tuesdays with Dorie group and the family loves chocolate!
I didn’t add walnuts due to nut allergies and while the top is just beautiful and crackly, they didn’t rise as much as I had hoped! I do think that was my fault not the recipe. I took them out too early.
Now that I have all the criticisms out of the way…
These were delicious!
Moist, fudgy, chewy and crackly.
And surprising not overly sweet.
What a great recipe to come back to!
Definitely recommend these!
Fudgy Mocha Bars are from Dorie’s Cookies by Dorie Greenspan for the Tuesdays with Dorie cooking group.


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Chocolate Coconut Tart

This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe comes from Baking Chez Moi.
The tart shell is made, fully cooked, cooled and then filled with a coconut pastry cream and topped with a silky smooth layer of chocolate ganache.
I love that Dorie Greenspan includes tips about storing and making things ahead.
One day I made the pastry case and froze it in the tin. I also made the coconut pastry cream and stored it in an air tight container in the fridge.
The next day I just baked the pastry shell and once it cooled I filled it with the pastry cream and topped it with the ganache. The steps were simple to do, however there was time needed for things to cool and rest, so doing it over two days made it feel leisurely!

It’s also really hot and humid here in Sydney. I look out over to the ocean and most days there is a fog over the water. (In the photo the ocean is mean to be where the fog is!) Some days you cannot see the water as you’re walking along the shoreline! I’m not sure if it’s living close to the ocean but the house feels wet. The clothes feel like they’re not dry, the furniture feels damp and the floors feel like they’ve just been mopped. The salt is coming out of the grinder in wet clumps instead of light flakes. I tried making a gelatine for Christmas and the powder I used would not set. The moisture has been terrible! I was happy to see that this tart turned out so good! And straight out of the refrigerator is a wonderful cold treat!

When I read Dorie’s inspiration for this tart I immediately thought of bounty chocolate bars which I love! I love all things coconut!
I enjoyed the tart however I found the coconut taste too delicate for the chocolate topping, and I’m not that keen on chocolate. I think to make it perfect for me I would need double the amount of coconut filling ๐Ÿ™‚

Looking forward to reading what the rest of the Tuesdays with Dorie group thought of their recipes for the week!


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Maple – Star Anise Cookies

This week’s choice for Tuesday’s with Dorie was my favourite cookie so far!
The recipe from Dorie’s Cookies by Dorie Greenspan was a little fiddly. I bought my own spice grinder for the Star Anise. (I also managed to lift the lid off the grinder while it was grinding and Star Anise flew everywhere!)
I’m not a fan of liquorice, however mixed with the cinnamon (which I love), ginger, maple syrup and orange rind, the cookies were delicious. Especially straight out of the oven. I had to stop eating them!

I made the cream cheese frosting the next day and I think I might have eaten a bit much of it straight out of the bowl, my tongue became very tingly!

I don’t have a cookie scoop, that’s next on my list of things to buy! So I experimented and made different sized cookies for the first batch and what I thought was small size turned into Cookie Monster sized cookies! These really do spread. I do like their soft, almost cake like texture though, and the larger cookies were great on their own!

The star anise flavour blended wonderfully with the rest of the spices to make one of the best cookies in the book in my opinion!
Looking forward to reading what the rest of the Tuesdays with Dorie group made!


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Rosemary Parmesan and Pecan Cookies

These cookies piqued my curiosity!
Tuesdays with Dorie has encouraged me to push myself and try things that I would usually skip past or tell myself I’d get back to that one day and never do.
These cookies from Dorie Greenspan’s Dorie’s Cookies cookbook are both sweet and savoury at the same time.
You can taste the rosemary, a delicate hint of parmesan and the pecans come through as well. The taste is subtle yet clear. It’s an unusual taste combination for a cookie however it works… really well.
I’m still fighting a virus, so this recipe was simple and easy, a good and comforting winter bake ๐Ÿ™‚

Looking forward to reading what the rest of the Tuesdays with Dorie group thought of this week’s recipe options.


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Kirsch Babas with Pineapple

I had “TRIFLE!” in my head going in to this week’s Cook the Book Fridays recipe by David Lebovitz.
I don’t know why… I know what Rum Babas are and I love them.
I think the pineapple, along with being sick for weeks now, made me long for all things summery, fruity and tropical!
So I tried to pretend my glass a mini trifle bowl and I layered the recipe. The sautรฉed pineapple at the bottom, a dollop of cream, the kirsch baba and then spooned extra juice over the entire thing.
I made a few glasses and placed them in the refrigerator, ready to eat after dinner. No plating required, it was all there in there ready to go!
There was a good hit of alcohol in this dessert!
The layers mixed in my cup and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it.
Everyone loved it!

Looking forward to reading what the rest of the Cook the Book Fridays group thought of these Kirsch Babas!


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Blueberry Buttermilk Pie Bars

IMG_8425.JPGThis week’s recipe for the Tuesdays with Dorie group is meant to be Pistachio Berry Slims. It looks like a beautiful cookie, however when you have anaphylactic children it is just not going to be an option.
I debated whether I should try replacing the pistachio with coconut however last minute I decided to catch up on a recipe I had missed.
Dorie said these bars are inspired from a buttermilk pie she had at Husk restaurant. I have the Husk cookbook by Sean Brock, Heritage, and love leafing though it! So I knew right then that this recipe was going to be my substitute this week.

fullsizeoutput_1216The recipe was really simple. A cornmeal biscuit crust that is baked golden, then topped with fresh blueberries and a vanilla flavoured buttermilk custard.
Seriously? What is there not to love about this?!
It is not too sweet, it almost feels like a light summery dessert. I served it with a dollop of cream however I really do not think it needs any. It is perfect the way it is.
The tanginess of the blueberries is wonderful!

I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to go back and make this recipe. It is something I will definitely make again and I think next time some sour morello cherries!
To see what the rest of the Tuesdays with Dorie group is making this week, please click here.


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Fruit Tart

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I really enjoyed making this week’s recipe for Tuesdays with Dorie from Dorie Greenspan’s book, Baking Chez Moi.
I love pastry cream. It is one of my favourite things in the world to eat.
I made this part of the recipe first, a vanilla flavoured pastry cream.
Next I made the crust which turned out wonderfully delicate and flaky. I’m getting to know my new ovens and following directions, I removed the base at 25 minutes to take the weights off the pastry and found the base darker than I had hoped. Luckily there was no burnt taste. Other than that, I had fun making and decorating this tart.
Everyone loved it. What is there not to love?!

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To see the what the rest of the Tuesdays with Dorie group thought of this week’s recipes you can click here.


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Cast Iron Pan Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

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This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s cookbook, Dorie’s Cookies is for Cast Iron Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars.
These are caramelised and crispy around the edges, soft and chewy in the centre.
The dried apricots soaked in hot water and the shredded moist coconut in the recipe add sweetness and depth of flavour.
It tastes like a wonderful chocolate chip cookie yet has the texture of a moist, chewy, muesli bar.
I found this playful and delicious.
The whole family loved this week’s recipe!
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It is the first day of school holidays for us here so I don’t expect these will last long in our house!
To see the rest of the group’s thoughts on this week’s recipes click here!

 


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Neopolitan Baked Alaska

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I love Baked Alaska, in fact I love anything with meringue on top ๐Ÿ™‚

So… when I saw that the recipe for this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie was a Black and White Baked Alaska, I was excited!
And a little hesitant.
There’s a flourless chocolate cake base that Dorie describes as “a fallen souffle, with a brownie like texture.”
Then there’s a layer of ice cream, Dorie recommends buying your favourite flavour, which did take some pressure off. However I was more concerned about the assembly and baking of the ice cream and how it would hold it’s shape under the meringue cloud…
I chose a white chocolate and raspberry ice cream which I let soften, then mashed and spooned onto the chocolate base.
I placed my double layer cake in the freezer for two hours and it held well!
The meringue was definitely my favourite part of the recipe, I could happily just sit and eat it, on its own, with a spoon… by myself… ๐Ÿ™‚
I placed the Baked Alaska in the oven and then sliced it, however I had to be quick, the ice cream did start to melt…
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My baked Black and White Baked Alaska looked more like a Neopolitan Baked Alaska!
The family was definitely impressed.
It looked great.
I thought there was too much chocolate brownie base and wished I had more meringue. Towards the end of my slice of cake, I was looking for more ice cream as well (even though I used twice the amount of ice cream stated in the recipe).
Even the chocolate lovers in the family thought the chocolate base was a little overpowering!
If I make this again, I was thinking of making half the chocolate base, so it’s thinner. Using a ย vanilla ice cream and adding a layer of sour Morello Cherries to break through the sweetness… A Black Forest Baked Alaska!
To see how this recipe turned out for the rest of the Tuesdays with Dorie group, click here!

 


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French Cheesecake or Torteau Fromager

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French Cheesecake or Torteau Fromager from David Lebovitz’s cookbook, My Paris Kitchen and this week’s Cook the Books Fridays recipe.
The last few weeks have been busy. We moved into the house we have been building and while the outside of the house is still looking like a construction site, the inside (especially the kitchen) is ready! I took a photo of the sky last night and it shows the state of our yard ๐Ÿ™‚
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Cooking in the new kitchen has been wonderful. It’s spurred me into a bit of a cooking frenzy! And what a week to return to Cook the Book Fridays. This French Cheesecake was amazing. David Lebovitz says “the blackened crust hides a cake with the unique flavour of a dense American cheesecake, but with the light sponginess of a Japanese cheesecake.” And that pretty much says it all.
If a light, white, sponge cake and a cheesecake had a baby, then this would be it.
I really liked the taste and texture of this cake, my 18yr old who has always stood by his dislike for cheesecake, actually liked this cake and asked for more.
I wish I left it in the oven just a few more minutes, there was a section in the centre that was a bit under done. It still tasted good though, so no one cared!
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I probably would have steered clear of this recipe had it not been for this group, the burnt coloured top would have left me feeling sceptical enough to not try this. So it’s a good reminder of how good it is to push myself out of my comfort zone, thanks to the Cook the Book Fridays group ๐Ÿ™‚